The moment Mass Effect fans have been waiting and equalling dreading for has finally arrived, as the showdown against the Reapers has come at last. Mass Effect 3 concludes the adventures of Commander Shepherd and his crew as they prepare to save the Earth and the rest of the galaxy while also wrapping up many loose ends. However, is this a fitting end for the galaxy’s hero, or will we feel disappointed and yearning for more?
As most people are probably aware now, in the world of Mass Effect, there has been a war against the Reapers, a synthetic/organic race, for many cycles now. However, in this cycle, some have stood up against the might of the Reapers to try to banish them from the galaxy for good. Commander Shepherd is at the forefront of this resistance and leads with his ship - The Normandy - manned by his capable crew and companions. In Mass Effect 3 Shepherd’s companions comprise of some familiar faces, such as Garrus and Liara but also consist of some new faces such as James, an N7 recruit, and others which I will not name to avoid spoilers, but they are very cool! After the Reaper’s attack on Earth, Shepherd must journey across the galaxy for another time to gather support from all the races to help in the final battle to save the galaxy.
The main hub takes place on the Citadel, which has had yet another makeover, and is home to a large number of shops, the nightclub Purgatory and various missions that will allow you to help out the poor refugees from the many worlds in the galaxy. By completing missions on the Citadel you can obtain war assets which will contribute to your overall galactic readiness. You can obtain war assets in other ways such as surveying planets, finding lost ships in space and reunite with old allies. However, you’ll need watch your back while exploring, as Reapers can attack you and if you don’t escape the system you are in you will be greeted with the game over screen. You can also increase your galactic readiness by playing the multiplayer and depending how ready you are will depend on how well you do in the final fight. This link between the single player and multiplayer is a nice addition to the game, and it actually requires you to switch between the two if you wish to achieve the best outcome.
The overall feel of Mass Effect 3 is very similar to Mass Effect 2. The graphics have been improved somewhat and the characters, landscapes and ships look a lot more detailed. The controls have stayed relatively the same. The two major additions to the combat that really change the way you play the game are the dodge roll and the heavy melee attack. With the dodge roll, you can quickly move out of the way of attacking enemies and get to cover a lot easier, which is great considering the AI have been vastly improved and now work together to flank you and make your life a living hell on some of the harder difficulties. The heavy melee is different depending on what class you play, but it is essentially the same thing. By holding down the melee button your Omni-tool will transform into a blade, or other weapons, and hit the enemy very hard – usually resulting in them being knocked back.
Even though the story is fantastic, and is a very exciting ride from start to finish, the fun is definitely not over as the multiplayer is absolutely amazing and will keep you busy long after you have completed the main story. You have the choice of the main classes, Soldier, Sentinel, Infiltrator, Vanguard, Adept and Engineer, but their abilities have been refined so that they are not too powerful. Abilities from the campaign such as Cryo ammo and Incendiary rounds are now items that can be used to give you an effect for one battle. Medi-Gel, rockets and other items are also available to use during battle but you are restricted to the number you can use until you find upgrades for them. Upgrades for all your different items and weapons are found in packs that can be brought with either credits, which you earn by battling, or bought with Microsoft Points.
The actual gameplay of the multiplayer allows you and three friends or random players to battle through eleven waves of enemies that increase of difficulty. Your enemies can be Cerberus, Geth or the Reapers with Cerberus tending to be the easier to defeat and the Reapers being the most difficult. Of course, this all depends on the classes you and your teammates are playing as, for example, the Geth have very powerful short range units that will rush you and catch you off guard and Cerberus have some nasty long range units that can have you taking cover for most of the game.
On the third, sixth and tenth rounds you will be given an objective to complete as well as having to deal with the enemies on one of the six maps. This objective can be to kill four targets, access four Intel points or hack an area with your teammates. Completing these objectives is how you gain the precious credits needed to buy the upgrade packs, so it is important that you complete these. The eleventh wave has you holding an evacuation point for two minutes while a mass of enemies try to kill you, which on some of the harder difficulties can prove to be a challenge, but it is fun nonetheless.
Quite simply, Mass Effect 3 is a brilliant game and although some people may not be satisfied with the ending, the game as a whole is breathtaking and a fitting end to the trilogy. While it would have been good to have had some closure on some aspects of the story, there is still room for DLC that should answer the questions gamers may have, but until then the multiplayer mode will keep you very busy. If you have played the previous games Mass Effect 3 is a must have title, and even if you haven’t it’s still worth checking out, even if it’s just for the multiplayer.